Gary Sykes has vowed to end an unbeaten year on a high when he meets Femi Fehintola at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday night.
The Dewsbury boxer has prepared for the 29th bout of his professional career as though it was a title fight and is looking forward to putting on a show for his fans.
Sykes will take on Bradford’s Fehintola over eight rounds on the undercard to Stuart Hall’s IBF World Bantamweight title fight against South African Vusi Malinga.
The fight is being screened live by boxing channel BoxNation but a good number of Sykes fans will make the short trip to cheer on the Dewsbury Moor star.
Sykes said: “Basically this is a title fight in all but name.
“The fight has been set at 9st 7lb, just above the super featherweight limit, we will weigh in the day before the fight as we would if it was for a title and it is being shown on telly.
“I want to end the year with a bang and give Liam Walsh something to think about before we meet.
“I’m not looking past Femi, I never would for any opponent, but this is business and once the bell sounds I want to put out a statement in my performance.”
Fehintola spent a short time training out of Sykes’s base at the Central Boxing Club in Batley, which has added spice to the derby showdown.
The Bradford man has a decent record of just two defeats in 26 fights, but both his losses came in title fights.
Sykes won and successfully defended the English super featherweight title earlier this year, with victories over Kevin Hooper in Cleethorpes and Jonny Kays at the Sheffield Arena.
He also won a non-title six-round bout against Mark McKray in September and is chasing a fourth win of 2013 before turning his focus to the biggest night of his career in February when the Dewsbury man takes on Cromer’s Liam Walsh for the British and Commonwealth super featherweight titles.
Sykes added: “I’ve just about sold out of my £30 tickets for this fight, which has surprised me so close to Christmas but already there has been huge interest in the Walsh fight even though it’s in London.”
The weigh in for Saturday takes place at The Hilton Hotel, Leeds, on Friday at 1pm and is open to the public.